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Healthy Living: 5 Ways to Improve Air Quality in Your Home

If you have a family, you probably make a ton of decisions focused on improving their health and wellness. These are the most important people in your life, so it makes sense to look for options that create vitality and protect the environment. Perhaps you only buy organic foods, and bath and shower products made from natural, plant-based materials. You focus on exercise, and create opportunities for the kids to connect with the natural world. You limit TV time and plan activities that join fun with education. But one thing you cannot control is the quality of the air. Mankind has been polluting the atmosphere in major ways for more than one hundred years, and all you have to do is take a look at the hanging cloud of smog around a major city to see the damage that has been done. But while you can’t force people to leave their cars at home and invest in clean energy, there are several things you can do about the air where you and your family spend most of your time. Here are five ways to improve air quality in your home.

First and foremost, choose the proper times to air out your home. Although you might think the air quality outside is better than it is inside, this isn’t often the case. Pollutants, pollens and toxic chemicals can hang out on your furniture and in the carpet, and no amount of air fresheners will make a difference. Choose a day when the pollen count is low, and open up all of the windows. This is a good opportunity to clean as well, because any dust, mold and toxins you release into the air will flow outside in the cross breeze.

Although it probably goes without saying, make sure that cigarette smoking isn’t allowed in the home. Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, many of which have been linked to cancer. That smoke will collect in your furniture and carpeting and secondhand smoke is majorly dangerous to little children. If you smoke, keep it outside, and ask the same of your guests during a party. It will keep the air smelling fresh, and avoid bringing all of those toxic chemicals into your sacred space.

Regular cleaning is mandatory, but you have to use the right products as well. Make sure your vacuum includes a HEPA filter, so that it cleans the air while removing dust, mold and pollen from the floors. Take the time to go over all of your furniture and curtains as well. Only buy machine-washable linens and pillow cases, and have them cleaned once a week. And if you use things like carpet cleaners and furniture polish, be sure that they are made of natural materials and fragrance-free. You don’t want to add toxins to the air during your cleaning process.

Not every nasty pollutant comes from a chemical. The critters who sneak into your home can leave a lot behind. If you have pets, make sure you groom them often, and change out the cat’s litter box every single day. You might not have as easy a time keeping bugs and rodents out. Make sure you take care of any infestations right away. Hire an extermination company that doesn’t use harsh chemicals if things get out of hand.

Finally, consider improving your HVAC system. Have your duct system cleaned at the beginning of every season, and pay close attention to the air filters. These should be switched out on a quarterly basis, and always use replacement filters recommended by the manufacturer. Consider energy star ductless heat pumps during the winter to avoid humidity problems, and make sure that all appliances vent outside with little effort. With all this covered you’ll rest easy with the knowledge that you aren’t allowing dirty byproducts to build up in the air in your home.